Tunde Fowler: Killing The Goose That Lays The Golden Eggs?
Who is your Man of the Year?
Alternatively, who deserves the award for the Man of the Year?
No doubt, not a few members of the public will name several prominent individuals who are deserving of this award.
But what is not in doubt is that many may vote Babatunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), as their Man of the Year.
If you ask them why, they will quickly reel out his achievements and sterling performances as the head honcho of the FIRS.
It will be recalled that when Fowler took over the leadership of FIRS in 2015, tax defaulters’ instantly became uncomfortable not essentially because of the tax to pay, but the models that Fowler would use to extract and milk out unremitting tax from them.
Perhaps, they must have heard or be familiar with the chief tax collector’s history and stellar performance when he headed the board of Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) between 2006 and 2015.
However, it is no longer news that the Lagos State-born trained accountant is not finding things easy at the moment.
He has been the butt of criticisms by many of his detractors. First, he was reportedly queried by President Buhari’s Chief of Staff over the alleged shortfall recorded in the actual tax collections from 2015 to 2018.
But he was said to have later offered the Presidency a satisfactory answer.
While the dust over the alleged shortfall was yet to abate, he was alleged to have given the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo , a sum of N90 billion towards the 2019 general election.
As that was not enough ,Fowler was dragged before a Federal High Court sitting in Kano, which ordered him to appear before it on October 7 and show cause why he should not be sacked for overstaying his tenure which expired on August 18.
As disclosed in the originating summons, the two defendants were given 30 days to explain why Fowler, who was appointed on August 20, 2015, has not ceased to hold office as the chairman of FIRS after August 20, 2019 in accordance with the “decision of the Supreme Court…and having regard to the combined provisions of Section 3(2) (a), Section 4(a) and Section 11 (a) of the act establishing the agency.
But in the face of all this, the question being asked in some quarters is : why do we want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs?